Devil of the Highlands by Lynsay Sands
Evelinde's evil step-mother Edda marries her off to the Devil Lord of Donnachaidh, Cullen, in the hopes that her hated step-daughter will live a miserable life with a cruel husband. Fortunately for Evelinde her step-mother's plan goes awry when Evelinde discovers herself with an enormous attraction to her husband, who comes across as anything but mean and cruel. Despite some wedding hijinks Cullen is able to whisk Evelinde off to his Scottish keep where strange things begin to happen. Cullen has long been haunted by rumors that he killed his uncle, his father, and his first wife and in response has shut himself off from trying to prove to others that he is not an evil man. He wants his actions to speak for him (instead of words) but Evelinde just feels as though he is shutting her out and he is displeased with her.
Unfortunately things do not go very well as whomever (may have) killed his other relative's begins attempts to kill Evalinde. At first everyone is able to convince themselves that the attempts on her life are accidents but as things become more dangers and the attempts escalate in frequency Cullen is forced to recognize that he is in danger of losing yet another wife. He sets guards to watch her but she still manages to get into trouble; both of her own making (like when she sneaks into an angry bull's pen) and from her attempted murderer. There is, of course, a climax scene where everyone confronts the murderer and the good characters all have to save each others lives. And both Evalinde and Cullen admit their love and promise to work on some of the things that may have frustrated the other.
I am almost disappointed I liked this book so much as it appears that all of her other romances are vampire books, something I have no interest in. The mystery was so well written as to be an integral and important part of the story without being overwhelming and taking too much time away from the developing romance. Clues lead Evalinde in one direction and to be honest I was completely convinced too but it's a nice little twist or not so twist depending.The romance certainly developed well- there was an obvious, and well-written progression of feelings between both of the main characters that was utterly believable and engrossing. Cullen's first wife is not a villian, although there was a weird little spiel about how he loved her body and he loves Evalinde's body and he thinks women are crazy for being so self-conscious about their bodies.
Most clumsy and innocent heroines annoy me yet while Evalinde is both innocent and clumsy- she inadvertently exposes herself to the neighbors, she is far from annoying. Her clumsiness is endearing and not overdone and her innocence is apparent while not overwhelming. Which leads me to the awesome, if far to few, sex scenes. They are great; Evalinde and Cullen have great chemistry, and Sands is obviously talented at crafting HOT sexy scenes.
Rating: There was nothing about this book I didn't like. It was quick, it was fun, and I loved the plot (and the side-plot) and especially the characters and their romance.